words heal, words heal-
but what, and how?
I cannot whisper the dictionary definition of life into the taut and cracking skin of a corpse and make its heart beat again,
or press step-by-step remedial instructions into a festering wound and hope the skin will stitch itself back together
and the fever will break;
or tonight someone will sing me a portrait of the way the sun sometimes hits the dew drops that hug the grass and make the world glisten
so that tomorrow I will wake up and see it all through once-blind eyes.
“Tell me where it hurts”; the earth pushes her burdens into my spine, my shoulder blades, my ribs, into the hollow where the neck meets the collarbone,
to find where the abnormality in the condition of my body lies,
the invisible wound that only mottles the flesh when you close your eyes and try to feel something
It is not the presence of a malady, but the absence of a cure-
In the same way white blood cells vanishing into thin air would leave holes in our bloodstream and surely kill us all,
so the absence of clean air will allow the certain toxic only man seems to create
to seep unfiltered into my lungs
so that I can no longer breathe in and breathe out,
but rather in-in-out-in-out-out
until I cannot keep up with the chaos of the pattern
I simply stop.
words heal? No:
They fill the cracks where broken bones couldn’t quite fit together again
And reknit the gashed flesh of knife wounds to the back and scraped knees alike;
They fill the holes in a stomach starved for love and a soul starved for hope-
And bridge the gaps between where we are and where we will be.
Our words are the stepping stones over quicksand
and create the path where there was none
And nudge us from the sickbed we didn’t have the strength to leave, saying:
Step forward or stand still, but you can’t go back.